Children who are the victims of “hidden poverty” will be kept warm this winter by an Ashington business.
The All-in-One Company has sent onesies to a baby bank in Surrey after a Channel 4 Dispatches programme, Born on the Breadline, revealed that tens of thousands of families in the UK rely on hand-outs to keep their children clothed, warm and clean.
Kate Dawson, who started the company ten years ago, said: “We’ve all heard of food banks, but not baby banks where people are having to go for clothes and equipment.
“If we can help, it’s an opportunity for us to get our suits to people who need them.”
She wanted to help families in the north east – where the country’s busiest food bank is based – but although the number of baby banks in the UK has grown to more than 100, there are none here.
The onesies went to Stripey Stork in Surrey, which is run by Nicola Dawes, who grew up in Blyth. The baby bank has responded to 6,000 requests for help and given out nearly £2m of items free of charge since she set it up five years ago.
Nicola has helped set up many of the other baby banks, including one in the north east, which unfortunately did not survive through a lack of funding.
She said the area’s need is desperate: “I’ve got friends who are teachers in primary schools in the north east and hear them talk about children coming to school without uniforms, or are embarrassed to talk about what happened at Christmas because they do not have any stories to share about presents they received.”
She added: “It echoes what we hear in Surrey, but probably on a bigger scale.
“It is amazing how many people are having to make decisions such as I do I buy a new coat for the children or do I buy nappies for the baby.”
“The onesies are just the ideal thing for teenagers. People are struggling to keep warm at this time of the year so to be able to give them something that’s so nicely made and of such high quality, as well as being fun and practical, is just brilliant.
“It will be our honour to pass them on.”
Kate said: “They’re not a throwaway garment. We’ve been going ten years and people who bought from us right at the beginning say they wash and wear really well so hopefully they will keep people warm for a long time to come.”
Any baby banks who want to get in touch should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01670 522478.